Thousands of passengers suffered as inter-district buses and launches from a number of districts across
the country remained off the roads on Sunday ahead of the BNP-led 20-party’s planned January-5 rally.
After the Dhaka Metropolitan Police slapped a ban on rallies insidec the capital, bus and launch owners of Rajshahi, Rangpur, Natore,
Barisal, Munshiganj, Sylhet, Patuakhali, Barisal and Panchagarh stopped the bus operations “fearing chaos over a possible face-off
between BNP and Awami League men”.
Commuters were seen waiting for buses and launches for hours together at the district bus and launch terminals since morning while some people were also seen heading towards their destinations in rickshaw-vans, even on foot.
Rajshahi Road Transport Group general secretary Manzur Rahman Peter said they stopped the bus operation fearing violence.
In the wake of escalating political tension over the programmes and counter-programmes of the ruling and opposition parties to mark the January-5 election, the DMP on Sunday imposed a ban on holding all types of public rally and gathering in the city from 5pm today
However, BNP expressed its firm stance about taking to the streets on Monday to mark the day as ‘Democracy Killing Day’.
Police confined BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to her Gulshan political office around 11:30pm on Saturday, forcing her to spend overnight there.
Several vehicles have been kept at different locations around the office, restricting movement of any type of vehicle.
On Saturday midnight, plainclothes police also vacated BNP’s Nayapaltan central office and put it under lock and key after picking
up its ailing joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and driving out 4-5 office staff.
Minutes before locking it, a team of Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police picked Rizvi up from the BNP office and took him
to Apollo Hospital for treatment.
The BNP leader is now being treated at the hospital under police custody. But the law enforcers still did not make it clear whether
they have arrested Rizvi or not.